We first brought you word of Graham’s tribute to their founder, George Graham, back in September. At the time, it seemed like that writeup was about all we were able to give you, as the official word is that none of these silver creations were going to be coming stateside. Long story short, interest from folks like you was recognized, and the Chronofighter 1695 is now available in the US – and as a result, we’re able to bring you today’s hands-on review.
If I were to summarize this watch, I’d call it the most refined Chronofighter we’ve seen to day. With their (generally) oversized cases and large chronograph triggers, these watches are most firmly in the sporting category, and that’s generally supported by the finishes and materials used. Using that same evaluation, it’s safe to say this has left sport behind, and is ready for the finer events in life.
To start with, this is one of (if not the) smallest case Graham has used in the series – only 42mm in diameter. Of course, that trigger on the left hand side of the case increases the visual “bulk”, but even this is slimmed down a bit from what my memory serves (for reference, the last Chronofighter we reviewed, with it’s CF trigger, can be seen here). That takes care of the sizing part of the equation.
As to the materials, it’s safe to say that going from stainless steel to the 925 silver that we have here is a move towards luxury. And silver is the material you’ve got on all the external surfaces – the case, bezel, chrono pushers and trigger, and the case back (more on that in a minute). Pair this to the black leather strap, and you see an obvious step up in the materials used.
Now, about that caseback – this is perhaps the most visually impressive thing about the watch. Flip it over, and you’ll see a hand-engraved (yes, done by hand, not machined or cast) representation of the Greenwich Royal Observatory, for which George Graham was the official watchmaker. I’ve had some impressive “3D” casebacks in lately, but this one definitely takes the cake. It’s a shame this level of craftsmanship is tucked away where most folks won’t see it, but you’ll know it’s there.
In a nod to modern tastes, they’ve also included a sapphire sight glass in the caseback, through which you can see the balance wheel doing it’s work, as well as the rotor of the G1745 calibre spinning past if you give the watch a shake. Flipping the watch over, you’ve got a silver dial (just in color, not the material), topped with crisp Roman numerals, and smaller Arabic numerals populating the outer track (handy for chronograph use).
For the handset, they’ve gone with diamond-tipped hands in a rhodium plating, for which they’ve also included white Super-LumiNova paint (which, as you know, is more of a rarity is dress pieces). For the chrono seconds hand, they’ve actually curved it, so it can extend just about to the edge of the case, and not bump into the curved sapphire (AR coated on both sides).
Even for including a sporting complication, the 1695 Chronofighter is no doubt an elegant watch. With the majority of it’s bulk contained on the left-hand side, this was an easy watch to slip under a shirt sleeve, and I thought it worked quite well both at the office, as well as when I had it paired with a suit.
This was also the most comfortable Chronofighter I’ve had on the wrist, most likely due to the smaller diameter just being a better fit for my wrist. Oh, and rest easy – the engraved caseback didn’t dig into my wrist, nor was I left with an impression on my wrist of the Observatory (though, that might be kind of cool in it’s own way). It’s relatively light weight (112g) also contributed to the comfort.
I also really liked the look and feel of the silver case. At first glance, it might look quite similar to polished stainless steel – but when you have it in hand, you can feel a slight difference to the material. Wipe off the smudges with a microfiber cloth, and you’ll get a subline shine coming from the case.
While I don’t know that I could make a watch like this an everyday sort of piece, it’s definitely one of my favorite Chronofighters that I’ve had the opportunity to review. It may not have the “rough and ready” look of some of it’s brethren, but therein lies the appeal for me. To be sure, the usage of 925 silver does lift the price ($11,500), but given all of the materials, and the level of work involved to create the piece, it doesn’t seem wildly out of line. And hey, if you’re going to pick up a watch to hand down to the next generation, why not have it made out of a semi-precious metal?
I have to admit, though, there is a part of me that wonders what the watch would look like with a bit of a patina to it. Think about the oxidization you sometimes see on true silverware. While I wouldn’t want to see the whole case pick up that coloration, I think it could lend an interesting look to the piece. Sure, not as dressy, but perhaps a bit more “lived in”.
Regardless, I think this is quite a nice entry into Graham’s catalog, and one that will certainly appeal to those who like the overall look of their Chronofighter series, but have a desire for something a bit more refined. In my eyes, it’s a great combination of what they’ve already done, and showing us a new look. But I’m also interested to hear your thoughts – let us know in the comments what you think of the 1695 Silver, or even the Chronofighter series in general – inquiring minds want to know! graham1695.com
- Brand & Model: Graham Chronofighter 1695 Silver
- Price: $11,550
- Who’s it for?: The person who digs the Chronofighter look, but wants it in a more formal look
- Would I wear it?: Yes, I would – this is probably my favorite Chronofighter
- What I’d change: Perhaps use of actual silver on the dial itself
- The best thing about it: The part that’s hidden – that amazing engraving on the caseback